"It was sad to wake up to that news this morning," Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "I was fortunate enough to get to know Mr. Lindsay over the last number of years, going back to when I was an assistant here. What a great person. Huge impact on me as a person. Sharp as a tack right to the end. His outlook on everything was really unique, the way he took care of himself and how in good a shape he was was awesome."
Said alternate captain Niklas Kronwall: "First off, our biggest condolences to the Lindsay family. Just being around him, I think that's something I'll remember the most. Whenever you had the chance to be around Ted, it was just great, just who he was as as person, someone you really looked up to. Obviously, his track record of all the Cups, what he accomplished as a player speaks for itself but what he did off the ice as far as forming the Players' Association, how much he's done for autism awareness. Those things are the things that stand out maybe even more."
As a Michigan native, Dylan Larkin was well aware of Lindsay and his incredible mark on the Wings and on hockey in general.
"He meant a lot," Larkin said. "Someone who as a hockey player growing up in Michigan, he's a man who built Hockeytown, someone that embodies everything that it means to be a Red Wing, not only a player but a person. A big person in the community, all the work he's done through his charity. Interaction with his fans, just a class act, someone I really looked up to and who paved a great path for guys like myself and other players to follow."
When Larkin was a rookie, one of the first people to come up to him in the dressing room and introduce himself was Lindsay.
"Just through my interactions with him over the years he was such a gentleman, such a nice guy," Larkin said. "Always shook my hand, looked me in the eye and asked me how my day was going or how my summer was. He's a legend of the game and for him to do that for me, someone who's into his 80s and still comes in the locker room and shakes a guy's hand and looks them in the eye. He was someone I looked up to a lot. A great man."
Alternate captain Justin Abdelkader said all the players loved hearing the stories that Lindsay would tell about his days in the NHL.
"He mentioned Jack Adams made some moves and with their group they should have won three or four more Stanley Cups easily," Abdelkader said. "He was a little disappointed by that but obviously how successful they were and how good a group of guys they had, he said they were a group that loved playing for each other. Obviously, travel was different, riding the train. Mentioned the fans, not on top of you, but no glass, they were right there with the chicken-wire fence. Just mentioned there would be a lot more chirping going on with the fans and players. He was a tough individual, tough customer on the ice. Just such a great person off the ice. Very fortunate to meet him, spend some time with him."
Blashill said one of his favorite memories of Lindsay came as he was preparing for training camp one year.
"Mr. Lindsay was at Joe Louis and walked into my office and said, 'What are you doing?'" Blashill said. "I said, 'We're getting ready for training camp, planning the practices' and he said, 'You just tell those players one thing, if they go into the corner with another guy and don't come up with the puck, they're a horse(bleep) hockey player,' and I just thought that kind of embodied his approach to hockey. It was true in the 1950s and it's true today."
The Wings lost Gordie Howe in June of 2016 at age 88 and now have lost another one of their most important legends.
"It's tough," Kronwall said. "These are two legends, not just for the Red Wings but for the hockey community in general. It's sad news. It really is."
LINDSAY'S LEGACY LIVES ON THROUGH LARKIN: Earlier this season, Larkin joined the Ted Lindsay Foundation as a board member and spokesperson.
"What he started through the Ted Lindsay Foundation, for not only kids and people with autism, but for the families involved, I'm really humbled and really excited to carry on what he started and continue his legacy and the great work he started to distinguish it," Larkin said.
The Ted Lindsay Foundation was established in 2001 and has raised more than $4.5 million for research and educational programs that focus on the cause and management of autism.
Abdelkader always participated in the Ted Lindsay Foundation's annual golf outing.
"It's a great event. Always enjoyed seeing him each year," Abdelkader said. "At the golf outing, talking to him, he was always such a positive person, always had such a great outlook on life. It's obviously an amazing legacy, a great life he lived, a great person for many of us who looked up to him."
Blashill said it was a great choice for Lindsay to pass the torch to Larkin.
"That was neat. It's part of what was important to Mr. Lindsay," Blashill said. "If I'm a player in this league, and the players will speak about this, what he's done in terms of the players union and the benefit these guys have reaped is huge, but that's part of what he was about, just the continuity and history of it. So, passing that torch onto Dylan is great. Dylan is involved in that and I know Dylan, if you had a chance to know Mr. Lindsay as Dylan has, the passion you're going to pour in, he won't just be a figurehead, it'll be passionate because you want to represent Mr. Lindsay the right way."
VANEK, DALEY PRACTICE: Thomas Vanek (hip) and Trevor Daley (upper body) both participated in practice Monday before the team flew to Denver for their Tuesday game against the Colorado Avalanche.
"We anticipate Vanek being ready and Dales might be ready as well," Blashill said.
Vanek skated on a line with Frans Nielsen and Darren Helm. He was also net-front on the power-play unit with Nielsen, Filip Zadina, Tyler Bertuzzi and Mike Green.
Daley skated with Luke Witkowski.
"They're two veteran guys," Kronwall said. "Two guys that mean a lot for the team," Kronwall said. "They're just good players. Vanny is extremely gifted offensively. The plays he can make out there very few guys can make those because he's so smart. Dales is huge for us on the PK, plays big minutes usually, a matchup guy who can play in really all situations. It'll be a good boost for us."